Friday, June 28, 2013

DIY Wedding Crafts: Gift Bags & Paper Fans

I decided it's time to get specific with some of the tips I shared in one of my previous wedding planning posts, 6 Tips for Wedding Planning on a Budget. Tip #6 was to "get crafty" and save money by creating some of your own items for your wedding. This post will show you how to make some crafty things for your big day! (Hopefully a second installment will be coming soon!)

Personalized Welcome Bags

Welcome bags/boxes/gifts are a great way to tell out-of-town guests that you're glad they traveled to attend your wedding. They can be as simple or elaborate as you want, but one thing I recommend is making it personal. Connect it to the theme of your wedding, add a personal note, make it your own style.

For my wedding I created these bags and tags to hold all sorts of goodies.

Obviously this craft is more assembly-oriented than crafty, but like everything else, you can make it your own and do as much creating as you want. I purchased the bags and tags at Hobby Lobby, the "M" stamp for $1 at Michael's craft store and the state stamp was a customized order from the Etsy shop StampCouture. The striped string was part of a scrapbooking pack I purchased from Michael's to use on our favors.

After deciding a layout for the front and back, I hand-lettered the "welcome to" portion of the tag, then stamped it. After that was dry, I hand-wrote the message on the back because I felt like hand-writing something was better than typing it up. (Obviously lots more time-consuming, but a personalized touch.) Then I stamped the bags with the same color ink from the tag. The tags will be tied on the bag handles.

The bags will be filled with treats like popcorn, chocolate, little bottles of moscato for our wine drinking friends, and other items we picked out, like playing cards, hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works, and a local visitor's guide. You can find lots of fun items in the "dollar section" of Target and Michael's or Jo-Ann Fabrics. Also check clearance bins.

Decorative Paper Fan Circles

This craft is simple and can add a whimsical, lovely and unique touch to your wedding table. I stumbled across this idea one day while looking at centerpiece ideas and pinned it so I could come back and try it. In the end, I made 60 fans of varying size and paper pattern, three for each table at my reception.

The key to making these work with your decor is to pick the right colors and size of fan. I recommend doing a couple of test fans in different sizes so you can decide what you want. I also recommend using paper that is easy to fold (so no card stock). The width of each fold will determine the height of your paper fan and the width will, of course, determine the width of your fan. The length effects how close the fan folds are to each other when you complete the circle.

You will need paper (I used large scrapbooking sheets), scissors, glue (I used tacky craft glue) and paper clips (two per fan).


1. Cut your paper into long strips. The width you cut the strips will become the diameter of your paper fans. The length will determine how close your fan folds are to each other. (See image above, the bigger fans had more folds and ended up with a more defined look. The smaller fan had less folds and ended up with a flatter look.) Choose a width for your folds and begin folding back and forth as shown below.

2. Once your strip of paper has been folded like an accordion, gather it up and hold it together at the middle.

3. Fold the bundle in half at the center, first one way and then the other. This will get the center loosened up and prepped for you to make the circle.

4. Put glue on half of one of the ends of your folded strip of paper. Press it together with the other half. This will connect one half of your circle.

5. Place a paper clip on the folded end to hold it together while the glue dries.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other end of your folded fan to bring it into a full circle. I also recommend placing a bead or two of glue at the center of your circle to help hold the shape of the fan.

I hope you find these DIYs helpful. I have other craft ideas pinned on my Pinterest boards and I am planning to share some more DIYs with you in the future! Please feel free to ask questions or share your favorite wedding crafts, suggestions and tips in the comments!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Winning Isn't Everything... But it Does Feel Good

This is just a quick post to show you this cool cup I helped us win at work. :)

We received this swanky trophy from our parent company for our website, which most of you know, I have devoted my [work] life to for the past couple of years. It's nice to see that work pay off!

Getting the website to where it is today has definitely been a process. It's been filled with angst and stress, but not without excitement and pride. It feels good to work hard, and to see that work accomplish growth and recognition.

I also know that none of this would have been possible without God's help and leading in my life.

Ever since the beginning of my time as the Herald's digital content editor, I've known that I was smart enough, driven enough and determined enough to accomplish anything. But at the same time, I knew that along the way, every time I experienced success, it wasn't just me. I knew God was opening doors, leading me, giving me insight and essentially handing me my success.

Why, I don't know. I don't pretend to be the only person God gives success to. I believe he gives it to every person who finds themselves achieving success, whether they recognize it or not.

So success feels good. It feels great to have helped the Herald receive this honor (and several others out of our six for 2012) and to know that I'm doing something right. :)

The trophy and me, enjoying a moment of bliss. :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fourth of July Themed Treats

Today I've been working over on the Clinton Herald Pinterest page creating a board full of patriotic treats, dishes and drinks and I thought I would share it with all of you!

Admittedly most of the pins are for desserts and sweets, but there are some healthy and Whole30-safe recipes on the board (like this one for broiled tomatoes) and gluten free!

I was really impressed with what some people have created. Most of the time when I was a kid, patriotic dishes were limited to a cool whip and berries cake or frosted sugar cookies. Now we have things like Uncle Sam Mustache Pops, a lovely American Flag Pie, Patriotic Taco Salad, and several healthy American flag arrangements with fruit and cheese.

Also check out this article from BuzzFeed, it has even more ideas for desserts and drinks for you to try! (Twenty-one, to be exact!)

I'm feeling all kinds of inspired, but with a wedding coming up, it will probably only be in my mind.

What are your favorite patriotic dishes or drinks? Any that you make every year without fail or are you always trying something new? Have a recipe to share? Give me a good one and I'll add it to the pin board!

Check out 15 of the patriotic recipes I pinned:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One of the Very Best Things

Fifteen years ago my family embarked on one of the most incredible journeys we've ever been on, the miracle of adoption. I can't even put into words what it's like to find another person who you never knew existed and enfold them into your family unit. It's a blessing, a challenge, and a completely unique and special experience.

I was so happy to find out that one of my best friends and her husband were embarking on that journey themselves. I get so excited when I learn that someone else has a heartbeat for adoption and is pursuing it in their lives.

Brandi and Jordan are two of the most genuine, selfless people I have known. I met them while attending college in Chicago. Brandi transferred in and was assigned as my roommate and even though we were two very different people, we instantly became friends. After having been part of some big moments in both Brandi and Jordan's lives (like their wedding!), I know beyond a doubt that there are no two people as perfectly suited to adoption as they are. With hearts as big as the sea, their tenderness, compassion, understanding and love will nurture and establish the children they are seeking to adopt.

But enough from me. The point of this post is to share with you Brandi and Jordan's adoption website.

I invite you to visit, read some of the posts, and if you feel led, join in this journey. Brandi and Jordan have set up a store to help them cover some of the costs of the adoption. There are some really cute items there, so make sure to check it out!

I can't say enough how wonderful and beautiful adoption is. If you have a story of adoption or know someone who is currently pursuing adoption, please share that in the comments!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Does this Make Me Ridiculous?

Does it make me an insane super fan if I hypothetically play music from my favorite tv show at my wedding?

Okay, let me clarify... It's not some crazy music or the Cheers theme song. It's tastefully arranged for the piano and I'm not picking it just because I love the show. I also happen to love, love, love the music that was orchestrated for it. I feel like it perfectly fills out the story and on its own is gorgeous.

So what's this music from, you ask? Behold: my all-time favorite tv show, Lost.

This music was arranged for the piano by Christopher Ryan, so it's not quite the dramatic, multi-instrument stuff of the original soundtrack. He did an excellent job bringing the "music from the island" to the piano, and because it's some of my favorite stuff out there, I felt like, how could I not consider it?

Right now I'm playing around with a few parts of my favorite tracks and thinking about how I can work them in. I know weddings are so much more than the music, but at the same time, I feel like weddings are made in the music. It's how you capture your audience, it's how you tell your tale, it's how you set the stage. At some weddings, the music has been fantastic and it's drawn me in. At other weddings, it's been lackluster, a filler you forget to notice.

So my question is this: How many other people pay attention to the music at weddings? Do you notice it/care about it as much as I do, or is it just me? And is it ridiculous for me to play music from a tv show at my wedding?

I would love to hear your thoughts. :)
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